By Alicia Dziak

Come on, get happy!  All the happenings at Holiday Valley this weekend are sure bring a smile to your face.

On Friday, May 6, Sky High’s Aerial Park and Climbing Forest open for the season. If you’ve never checked it out before, a trip to Sky High is an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Aerial Park is comprised of a series of platforms and bridges in a four-acre section of the woods near the Tannenbaum Lodge. The platforms are built in the trees, connected by zip lines and “bridges,” a term that is used loosely to describe the hanging chunks of wood, ladders and other challenging obstacles that get you from one place to the next.

The Aerial Park boasts 13 courses with varying levels of difficulty. The more difficult the course, the higher up it is in the trees. There are three easiest yellow courses (Sunflower, Sunshine and Snapdragon), five slightly harder greens (Forest Run, Mountain Trail, Grand Rapids I and Grand Rapids II and Fern Gully), two moderate blues (Waterfall and Rip Tide), two difficult single black diamonds (Black Storm and Black Widow) and one most difficult double black diamond, The Commando, featuring a giant spider web. All courses except Commando have at least one zip line and some have several. Grand Rapids is a dual zip line course that allows Sky High trekkers to go from the park to the base via two sets of six side-by-side zip lines. The sixth and final zip travels down across the Tannenbaum base area to finish next to the Tannenbaum Lodge.

Safety always comes first, and everyone wears a harness (200 new ones were purchased this year!) with a special locking lanyard that safeguards you from falling if you slip or let go.

Children must be at least 7 years old, and all guests must be able to perform certain physical tasks to participate. There is a weight limit of 250 pounds.

The Climbing Forest, also located in the woods by Tannenbaum Lodge, is like a 3D version of a rock wall. Climbers are harnessed in and sent to climb their choice of 10 trees outfitted with color-coded climbing holds, with difficulty ranging from very easy (yellow) to very challenging (purple). Minimum age is 5.

In addition, locals can enjoy awesome savings on Friday, May 20, which is same day that the Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster opens for the season. Grab your deal for only $10 for a 3-hour climb in the Aerial Park, or $12 for the Aerial Park and a coaster ride.

Both the Aerial Park and Climbing Forest are open May 6-June 12, Fridays-Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations are required on weekends and suggested for weekdays at the Aerial Park, call (716) 699-HIGH. More info at www.holidayvalley.com/skyhigh.

The all-new Happy Half, 5K and Beer Mile are ready to put a perma-smile on your face when they hit Holiday Valley on Saturday, May 7.

The half marathon begins at 10 a.m. at Holiday Valley. The course leads runners north through scenic, lightly traveled, rural roads and a great atmosphere. Intersections will be controlled by the local Police and County Sheriff Departments to ensure a safe experience for all participants. The race ends back at the resort.

The 5K, which starts at 10:20 a.m., also begins and ends at Holiday Valley. The course route takes runners out on 219, left at Brewers Cross Road and then back again.

The sure-to-be-a-blast Beer Mile challenges participants to drink a beer (Southern Tier Hop Sun), run a quarter mile, and repeat three more times, for a total of one mile and four beers. If you’re up for something with a little less of both, grab a friend and take part in the Beer-lay instead, where you and a teammate each drink two beers and run a half mile. The course heads around HV’s parking lots.

Following the races will be an after-party in the Main Lodge, sponsored by Southern Tier Brewing. Runners will also get specially priced lodging packages at the Inn, plus coupons in their goodie bags for Sky High Climbing Forest and the Holiday Valley pool.

For the latest info on whether spots are still available, visit www.happyhalfrun.com.